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Twin blasts hit Egypt gas pipeline

The main gas pipeline sending supplies from Egypt to Israel and Jordan was attacked on Monday, the 13th such attack since long-time President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February 2011.

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Egyptian security stand in the vicinity of flames following an attack by saboteurs on an Egyptian gas pipeline on July 12, 2011, at al-Arish in the north of the Sinai peninsula. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

The main pipeline carrying gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan was attacked on Monday, causing two large explosions, Egyptian officials say.

It is the 13th such attack since long-time President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February 2011, Reuters reports.

Monday’s attack on the pipeline, which crosses the lawless and increasingly volatile Sinai desert, occurred in the Massaeed area west of al-Arish, a Mediterranean coastal town in north Sinai.

Witnesses told the BBC two explosions were triggered close together after six men arrived in an unmarked vehicle.

The blasts sent flames high into the air. Residents said they could see large plumes of black smoke and fire from as far as 50 kilometers away.

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Ynet News quoted Egyptian officials as saying the perpetrators had buried explosives in the same area where the pipeline was attacked on Feb. 5. Monday’s attack came just three days after the damage was repaired and shipments to Israel and Jordan had resumed.

Egypt sends nearly half its gas to Israel, under a much-criticized deal. Previous bombings of the pipeline have been blamed on Islamist militants, who have grown bolder and taken advantage of a security vacuum created by a pared-down police presence in post-Mubarak Egypt, according to the Associated Press

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120306/twin-blasts-hit-egypt-gas-pipeline